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A Full Overview of Products Liability

A Full Overview of Products Liability


Products Liability is a field of tort law which concerns the responsibility of the manufacturer or vendor of a product to ensure that products are safe and do not cause injury.

Products subjected to liability include all consumer goods, medical devices, commercial/personal vehicles, aircraft and consumable goods such as food and prescription drugs. As it is the duty of a product vendor or manufacturer to produce/supply a product which will not cause harm during normal use, manufacturer/vendors of unsafe products are subject to recovery for damages. Contact a product liability lawyer to consult your case.

Theories of Recovery: 

Theories of Recovery are the principals upon which a customer may seek compensation for injuries or inconveniences resulting from their use of an unsafe product.  When seeking recovery, the buyer must present cause of action for tort, which may be from bodily injury, property damage, or pain and suffering resulting from the intended use of an unsafe or defective product.  Three theories of legal recovery under product liability law are Recovery under Manufacturer's Defect, Recovery under Insufficient/Unclear warnings or instructions, and Recovery under Design Defect.

Types of Losses: 

Product liability losses resulting from defect may net economic loss compensation for the buyer or victim of harm.  While physical injuries resulting from contact or use of a defective product usually are filed as negligence tort, the pain and suffering incurred in the aftermath of those injuries may also be filed for as Intangible Economic Losses.  Products with defects also may be held in breach of warranty if normal uses reveals a manufacturing defect, or if the product cannot be used to fulfill its intended purpose.

Negligence & Liability for Physical Harm:

The proof of negligence in tort law requires that the plaintiff assert error or neglect on behalf of the seller to render safe, usable products to the market. Sellers engaged in business of product sale must deliver a functioning product that is not "unreasonably dangerous" during normal use.  Product buyers who are harmed physically or suffer property damage from defects may sue for product negligence.

Meaning of Dangerously Defective or Unsafe Products:

In product liability tort, a vendor may be liable for prosecution if the product is Dangerously Defective or Unsafe. A defective product is defined as a product which is unreasonably dangerous to the user when used for its intended purpose without any interference. Victims of injury resulting from the use of unsafe products with defects may be entitled to sue as tort for damages.  If the product can be proven as defective or unsafe, the plaintiff may claim damages from physical injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering from the like.

Contributory Negligence, Misuse, and other Intervening Misconduct: 

Contributory Negligence, Misuse and Intervening Misconduct are forms of defense to torts of negligence.  When a plaintiff claims product liability in tort, the vendor may allege that there was fault on behalf of the buyer which negates the original claim.

If a defendant successfully raises a contributory negligence, misuse or intervening misconduct, he or she is not liable for the original tort. Contributory Negligence is negligent behavior on behalf of the plaintiff which contributes or is the cause of the damages claimed in tort. Misuse is use of the product in question for anything other than its intended purpose.  Intervening Misconduct is any interference by a third party which may be to blame for the damages in tort. 


In product liability tort, the burden of proof can vary case by case.  This is generally due to the fact that there are many claims and counter-claims available for the plaintiff and defendant of a product liability lawsuit, each with their respective burden of proof.
In such torts, the plaintiff is tasked normally tasked with finding fault with the defendant's product, while the defense is tasked with attributing blame for the injury to the plaintiff's negligence or misuse.  Generally, for every theory of recovery in products liability, there is an appropriate standard defense.  Product liability is a well-rehearsed field of tort, and is more tightly-constructed than other fields of personal injury and tort.